TVO.org daily: Wednesday, May 1

A late slip from the education minister, 17 years of spring flooding, and how Facebook is preparing for the federal election
By TVO Current Affairs - Published on May 1, 2019
Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson
(Chris Young/CP)

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Education minister accuses teachers’ unions of dragging feet on bargaining

Education Minister Lisa Thompson is suggesting teachers’ unions want to use the new school year as leverage in contract talks. Normally bargaining would begin in June, with current contracts set to expire on Aug. 31. But the Ford government moved the negotiation timeline to start on April 28, calling a contract expiration so close to September classes “unacceptable.”

When the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation was the only union to file its notice to bargain on the first day of the new timeline, Thompson unloaded on the remaining labour groups. “Those federations and unions who continue to delay the bargaining process are acting irresponsibly and causing unnecessary fear and anxiety for parents,” she said Tuesday. In response, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association president Liz Stuart called Thompson’s statement “a childish, desperate attempt to shift blame for the damage the government is doing to publicly funded education in Ontario.”


Canadian Women’s Hockey League players hang up their helmets

As of today, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League is no more. In March, the six-team league announced that its business model was unsustainable and it would need to shut down. The league was founded in 2007. “I have no idea what this means for the future, but this is heartbreaking,” Toronto Furies general manager Sami Jo Small tweeted after the league announced it was ceasing operations. “We will work hard to ensure there is still women’s hockey in Toronto.” Some think an influx of CWHL players may strengthen the U.S.-based National Women’s Hockey League.


One refugee backlog eliminated as an even bigger one looms

Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has announced that a massive backlog of refugee cases, once up to 32,000 claims, has been cut to almost nothing. The so-called “legacy” cases were bumped to lower priority when the Harper government made reforms to the process in 2012. But the Immigration and Refugee Board is struggling to keep up with what it says is a record number of claims for refugee status over the past two years. “As a result, an inventory of more than 75,000 claims has accumulated, representing more than two years of work at the current funding levels,” a government document says. TVO.org’s Chantal Braganza spoke to immigration lawyers and refugee activists about the backlogs last year. They said government policy plays a role in creating these long delays.

What we're tracking

people getting on a plane

Last month, Kashechewan First Nation evacuated its reserve due to severe flooding, as the James Bay-area community has done every spring for the past 17 years. This year’s earlier ice melt forced the people of Kashechewan to relocate earlier than expected, however, and advocates from the First Nation have been sounding the alarm on an issue that they say the federal government has failed to address for nearly a decade: moving the community to a new, permanent home. Yesterday in Ottawa, Indigenous Hub reporter Haley Lewis spoke to demonstrators on Parliament Hill, where a group of nearly 300 people rallied to ask the government to deliver on this commitment. Check out her reporting from the scene on Twitter.

Watch Now

I Love Hooligans


This rotoscope animation documentary is a portrait of a Dutch football hooligan who feels unconditional love for his club and its culture. But can both things love him back? Our unnamed protagonist is gay, and he hides his identity to survive in a world that is so precious to him.

Facebook and protecting the federal election

The federal government is “very concerned” that foreign actors will try to influence the upcoming general election, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said last month. Her comments were buttressed by the Communications Security Establishment, a government agency that also predicts foreign cyber-meddling. Much of this interference will likely play out on social media, as it did in the last American presidential election at the hands of Russians. Steve Paikin speaks to Kevin Chan, the head of public policy for Facebook Canada, about what his company is doing to tackle this issue and what responsibility it has for the spread of misinformation.

Read Now

Why the Tories are risking big political blowback to make minor funding cuts

Last week, the Progressive Conservative government found itself defending funding cuts and corner-store beer sales — so what do those things have in common? As John Michael McGrath writes, “It’ll take a lot of fire for these cuts, and more, in the hopes that if it gets the hard stuff done early, it’ll be easier to maintain spending discipline in future years.”

Why social media needs less 'science-ploitation' and more hard facts

Collagen has become a multi-billion-dollar industry, thanks in large part to Instagram. But research doesn’t back up collagen’s purported health benefits, and now some experts say it’s time for scientists to fight back. Alexandra Rendely reports on how social media marketing has helped companies sell collagen matcha lattes, detox teas, and other supplements with little research to support them — and given these products the veneer of scientific legitimacy in the process.

Tonight on TVO

8 p.m. - The Agenda: Changing Toronto's governing power 

As the governments of Toronto and Ontario wage a tug of war over public health funds and subways, there are some who would like the province’s capital to have a more influential say in its affairs — namely, by becoming a charter city. The Agenda looks at what that designation means, and whether it’s the right path forward for Toronto.

12 a.m. Don't Blink: Robert Frank

One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Robert Frank is known for the seminal 1958 book The Americans and landmark films such as Pull My Daisy with Jack Kerouac. Swiss-born, Frank reinvented himself the American way, and is still standing on ground of his own making in his nineties, dividing his time between Nova Scotia and New York City. This documentary by his long-time editor, Laura Israel, examines his life and work.

From the Archives

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What are the world’s most pressing environmental concerns today? This Science Café segment has a group of scientists and activists answer this question — in 1992. Their answers may go by different names, from greenhouse gas effects to global warming, but the explanations behind them suggest that when it comes to concerns about the planet, much has stayed the same in the decades since.


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